Donald Trump is Still the White Supremacist-in-Chief, Bannon/Breitbart Wing Declares War

TGIF: Donald Trump has had a disastrous week (again). He spent much of it taking the side of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia. He’s suffered an exodus of supporters and resignations from his advisory councils. Even conservative Republican allies in Congress are questioning his stability and competence. And to top it off he has just jettisoned his Chief Strategist and ideological mentor, Steve Bannon.

Trump Bannon

Make no mistake, this is not a transitional moment for Trump. He isn’t pivoting to become more presidential. He doesn’t have the foggiest notion of what that even means. The banishing of Bannon had nothing to do with his overtly racist views or his bragging about being the voice of the alt-right. Bannon was kicked out of the White House because a recent interview with the American Prospect pissed the President off. In it Bannon diminished Trump and took credit for what he regards as accomplishments. Trump’s ego could not abide that.

For the record, Trump’s first seven months in office has undergone unprecedented turmoil. Here are just a few of the positions that have already turnover: Michael Flynn, National Security Advisor; James Comey, FBI; Sean Spicer, Press Secretary; Michael Dubke, Communications Director; Anthony Scaramucci, Communications Director; Reince Priebus, Chief of Staff; John Kelly, Homeland Security Secretary; Steve Bannon, Chief Strategist.

So what happens now? First of all, nothing changes at the White House. Trump will retain the mantle of the radical extremist he has adopted since entering politics. His administration is lousy with like minds. Sebastian Gorka, Stephen Miller, Kellyanne Conway, Jeff Sessions, etc., will continue to advance their right-wing bigotry. This is the house that Trump built and it’s still running on his repugnant fumes. As they say, the fishy stink (of racism) emanates from the head.

But Bannon’s future is much more interesting. Sources say that he will be heading back to his previous post as chairman of Breitbart News. He has been seen meeting recently with the billionaire Mercer family who bankroll the website. It’s fair to assume that he’s seeking additional funding. And upon his return he may have something to say about his tenure at the White House and his humiliating ouster. Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine has been watching these events closely. He tweeted this following the news of Bannon’s exit:

That prediction has already been confirmed by Joel Pollak, senior editor-at-large for Breitbart News. Pollak posted a one-word tweet that said simply “#WAR” With Bannon back in charge, Breitbart is likely to begin an offensive blitz on Trump, his family, and his inner circle. He has no history of placing loyalty over ideology. And the ideology to which he adheres is one of alt-right jihadism.

Look for the GOP extremists to fall in line behind Bannon. They will accuse Trump of caving in to the globalists and becoming just another mainstream RINO. As if he were ever a real Republican in the first place. And this opposition will trigger Trump’s knee-jerk defensiveness and whiny victimhood. What did they expect? He lied his way to the White House and the alt-rightists tolerated it because they they thought they could control him. The same is true for the evangelicals that betrayed their faith in order to back Trump.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Now they are all learning the hard way what Democrats and liberals warned them about. Trump is a malignant narcissist who can’t be trusted. He is only in this for himself. Anything that gratifies his ego or fattens his wallet will gain his support. Criticism or inquiries into his corrupt finances will draw his ire. Which makes this a good time to remember that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, is still hard at work. The end of this road for Trump is humiliation and defeat. He will either resign in disgrace or be impeached and prosecuted. And perhaps, if justice prevails, both.

UVA Prof to Trump: Fire All the White Nationalists on [Your] Staff, Starting with Steve Bannon’

The tragedy that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday has ironically united the nation. Most decent Americans are repulsed by the bigotry espoused by the alt-right white nationalists who organized the event. Unfortunately, the President is not among them.

Trump/Bannon

Donald Trump’s initial response to the violence was to issue a mealy-mouthed statement that blamed “all sides.” But only one side engaged in deliberate hostilities that resulted in the death of a young woman. Trump’s callous and tone-deaf response was criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike. Reacting to that criticism, the White House put out an anonymous, unsigned statement that continued to ignore the reality of the tragic events:

“The President said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred. And of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-nazi and all extremist groups.”

So now it “includes” white supremacists. Which, of course, is reaffirmation of his position that it also includes others. He is still trying to dilute the grotesque actions of the bigots who are unarguably responsible. And the process of dilution is being carried out by Trump’s surrogates. On CNN’s State of the Union, Tom Bossert had a peculiar excuse for Trump not identifying the racists. He said that the President didn’t want to “dignify the names of these groups.” That argument flies in the face of relentless insistence that Muslims had to be identified as “radical Islamic terrorists.”

On the Fox News morning program, Fox and Friends, co-host Pete Hegseth sympathized with the racists. He complained on their behalf that they feel like they’re being “treated differently” and have become “second-class citizens.” Poor privileged, snowflake, babies.

Consequently, it was encouraging to hear someone on TV tell the truth about the rioting white supremacists. On CNN’s Reliable Sources, University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato didn’t mince words. And he gave some harsh advice to the President who can’t seem to do or say anything right. Here is the exchange he had with host Brian Stelter (video below):

Stelter: Would what the President says in the coming days matter in Charlottesville? Would it actually help or affect the community?

Sabato: Thanks for asking that, Brian, because Donald Trump, of course, is very unpopular anyway here, but he missed his moment. He had the opportunity to do something when it mattered yesterday afternoon. And any of his predecessors in modern times would have had the good instincts to say the right things. He wouldn’t because he won’t denounce part of his base. They’re white supremacists. We know what they are. We know who they voted for.

So listen Brian, if he wants to do something to help us and everbody else, let him fire all the white nationalists on his staff, starting with Steve Bannon. Actions speak louder than words. Words written by his staff.

Stelter: You know Bannon would reject being described as a white nationalist?

Sabato: I don’t care. We’ve read all that we need to read. And there are others on that staff too. You know darn well there are.

Exactly! Prior to joining Trump’s campaign, Bannon was the chairman of Breitbart News. The website openly bragged that it was “the platform for the alt-right.” He now occupies an office down the hall from the Oval Office. And he is likely the author of the statements that tread so lightly on the hateful culprits of the violence in Charlottesville.

Sabato’s observance that there are others in the Trump White House who hold these disgusting views is indisputable. On an earlier appearance on CNN he named one of them. Sebastian Gorka is a special advisor to the President. He also happens to be a former Breitbart editor and is associated with known Nazi groups. But people like Bannon and Gorka are among Trump’s favorite advisers. He isn’t likely to fire them and piss off his base of supporters.

As a result, Trump will continue to get counsel from the worst of the worst. And it’s precisely what he asked for. This is not a case of clandestine fascists infiltrating the government. These are people that Trump selected with full knowledge of their resumes. And if he thinks he can paper over these abhorrent cretins and their hateful philosophies, he is going to be sorely disappointed. Americans will not long tolerate this. Trump already has the worst approval ratings of any president in modern history. Don’t look for that to improve anytime soon.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Could Trump Be Prosecuted for Leaks Under New Department of Justice Directive?

The still nascent presidency of Donald Trump is rife with controversies and scandals. His financial conflicts of interests and unsavory connections to Russia have dominated his short tenure in office. Additionally, he has produced no legislative accomplishments. Most notably, the failure of his efforts to kill ObamaCare went down in flames. He has made no progress on immigration, taxes, terrorism, or his lame-brained border wall.

Rod Rosenstein Fox New

However, Trump regularly signals what issues are of most importance to him. And judging by the frequency of his tweets, it has little to do with matters critical to the nation. Rather, he is variously obsessed with either the media, last November’s election, or the torrent of White House leaks. Most experts agree that leaks occur when an organization is in disarray. But in Trump World it is blamed on a shadowy conspiracy of “deep state” saboteurs.

On yesterday’s edition of Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace interviewed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (video below). Much of the segment specifically addressed the question of leaks and what the Justice Department intends to do about them. Wallace sought to follow up on remarks made last week by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Those comments sparked some controversy for implying that journalists could be targeted for prosecution. Rosenstein walked that back a bit in the following exchange:

Wallace: Some of the people who engage in leaks, I don’t have to tell you, are not the members of the so-called ‘deep state’ or faceless bureaucrats inside intelligence agencies. They are White House officials. They are members of Congress. If you find any of them have committed these leaks – have disclosed classified information – will you prosecute?
Rosenstein: “What we need to look at in every leak referral we get, we look at the facts and circumstances. What was the potential harm caused by the leaks? What were the circumstances? That’s more important to us than who it is, than who is the leaker. So if we identify somebody, no matter what their position is, if they violated the law and that case warrants prosecution, we’ll prosecute them.
Wallace: Including White House officials and members of Congress?
Rosenstein: Including anybody who breaks the law.

If Rosenstein can be taken at his word, Donald Trump may be in even more trouble than previously thought. Leaks from any administration are made for a variety of reasons. It may be because someone is genuinely concerned about a course of action and has no other recourse to alter it. Sometimes a leaker is angling for position or acting out of vengeance. And sometimes leaks are deliberate attempts by the White House to disseminate information that it wants disseminated.

For example, Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s short-lived communications director, recently outed his boss as a leaker. During an interview on CNN, Scaramucci defended Trump’s reluctance to concede that the Russians were responsible for hacking during last year’s election. He even offered “evidence” by way of an anonymous insider:

“You know, somebody said to me yesterday — I won’t tell you who — that if the Russians actually hacked this situation and spilled out those e-mails, you would have never seen it.”

That, of course, is grade AAA bullshit. Professional spies may be good at what they do, but they are not infallible. Scaramucci is suggesting that the Russians are so superior in their clandestine operations that their American counterparts are helpless yokels, incapable of facing off against the almighty Ruskies. But more important was what Scaramucci said next. After CNN’s Jake Tapper challenged Scaramucci’s hypocritical use of an anonymous source, the Mooch spilled the beans:

“How about it was – how about it was the President, Jake? I talked to him yesterday. He called me from Air Force One.”

So here we have a White House official admitting that the President was the source of a leak that disclosed inside information. Trump’s observations about the capabilities of Russian intelligence ought to be regarded as top secret. But this business was aired on national television at the behest of Donald Trump. On another occasion, Trump leaked classified data to Russian diplomats visiting the White House. This leak may have put intelligence assets of an ally at risk of discovery or termination.

Who knows what else the President might have leaked. Handing out information that advances the administration’s interest is an ago-old tactic. Dick Cheney did it to plant the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. And Trump has his own media operation headquartered in the White House and led by Breitbart News chairman, Stephen Bannon. Remember, this is the same guy who used to call newspapers and pretend that he was a publicist working for, well, himself.

So if Trump is later found to be the source of leaks to the media, will the Department of Justice keep their word and prosecute him? That’s an open question for the time being. They have not been especially anxious to pursue criminal investigations of the President. And, of course, Trump remains poised to fire anyone he thinks is getting too close to the truth. In the end, it may only be possible to obtain justice with a truly independent counsel, or a Democratic congress. Stay tuned.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Will Donald Trump Renounce Pal Alex Jones’ Threat to ‘Kill a Bunch of Liberals’?

After six months the administration of Donald Trump has virtually nothing to herald as a success. His most prominent campaign promises (repeal ObamaCare, defeat ISIS, build a border wall) remain unfulfilled. But there is one area of accomplishment about which he can brag. The escalation of hatred directed by his followers to their fellow Americans is reaching new highs.

Alex Jones Infowars

The vitriol from the right has increased exponentially since the election of Trump. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual survey of hate groups shows an unprecedented rise fueled by Trump’s hostile rhetoric. And those groups are enjoying an association with mainstream politics they have never known. They are showing up on national television and at presidential press briefings. And they even have their own representatives in the White House. Trump’s alt-right hero and chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, has an office next to the oval one.

High on the list of radical alt-right wackos is conspiracy freak Alex Jones. On his radio broadcasts Jones unleashes a non-stop flurry of malicious rants and dark fantasies. He famously asserts that the Sandy Hook murders were a hoax complete with actors portraying children’s corpses. More recently he has been fixated on what he believes are the nascent ramblings of a new Civil War. Newsweek reports that:

“On June 23, he accused ‘the left’ of starting civil war and offered to personally execute convicted traitors because, he said, ‘I’m not going to sit here and just call for stuff without actually being part of it.’ In the same broadcast he said, ‘I don’t need some coming-of-age deal to kill a bunch of liberals,’ but ‘we have to start getting ready for insurrection and civil war because they’re really pushing it.'”

And . . .

“On June 15, he warned ‘you kick off Civil War 2, baby, you’ll think Lexington and Concord was a cakewalk.’ The day before, he implicated himself and his listeners: ‘You’re trying to start a civil war with people. You’re taking our kindness for weakness. Do you understand the American people will kill all of you? You understand? We are killing machines, you fools.… But I can shoot bull’s-eye at 400 yards, dumbass. I mean, they have no idea who they’re messing with.'”

In addition, Jones has called on the President to take action against Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey for unspecified crimes. “I would support the president making a military move on them right now,” Jones said. And the profane tirade he unloaded on Rep. Adam Schiff has to be seen to be believed.

Jones has crossed a line that may put him in legal jeopardy. It is against the law to threaten government officials. And his advocacy of violence toward anyone with whom he disagrees should earn immediate condemnation and social exile. However, Jones remains a confidant and ally of Donald Trump. He professes his undying loyalty on every show. Jones has claimed to be in frequent contact with the President. As for Trump, he has appeared on Jones’ Infowars program praising his “amazing” reputation. And an Infowars “correspondent” was actually granted a White House press pass.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Given the overt advocacy of violence by Jones, it is high time for Trump to renounce his association with him. No president can be allowed to get away with embracing such rhetoric without paying a price. The press needs to push Trump to take a public position condemning Jones and his sick promotion of terrorism. Absent such a statement, Trump should be labeled as a domestic terrorist for supporting civil war. Because under those circumstance, that’s exactly what he is.

‘You Treat Me Like a Baby,’ Whines an Infantile Donald Trump Before Firing Top Aide

A new book is shedding some light on the inner workings of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. And it isn’t pretty. Journalist Joshua Green’s account of the Trump campaign focuses heavily on his relationship with campaign advisor, and Breitbart News boss, Steve Bannon. Bannon was later hired to serve Trump in the White House as his strategic advisor. The book’s title, “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency,” says a lot about the nature of Bannon’s odious influence.

Trump/Bannon

The publisher’s description of the book’s contents evoke an unprecedented incursion of far-right fringe politics into the mainstream of the Republican Party. It casts Bannon as “a bomb-throwing pugilist who’d never run a campaign and was despised by Democrats and Republicans alike.” Here’s more:

“From the reporter who was there at the very beginning comes the revealing inside story of the partnership between Steve Bannon and Donald Trump—the key to understanding the rise of the alt-right, the fall of Hillary Clinton, and the hidden forces that drove the greatest upset in American political history.”

Excerpts from the book are already beginning to leak into the media. They tell us something about the volatile, profane character of Trump, and his hair-trigger temperament. That’s something he shares with Bannon who, at one point, lambasted House Speaker Paul Ryan as “a limp-d**k motherf**ker.” But some of the most hostile rhetoric was reserved for Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

According to Green, there were episodes when Trump would fly off the handle due some negative press. On one occasion a story revealed the turmoil behind the campaign’s closed doors. “How can anybody allow,” Trump yelled at Manafort, “an article that says your campaign is all f—– up?” On another occasion Trump was upset at reports that some of his team were frustrated that they could not get him to listen. They told reporters that they had to book interviews on television in order to get the TV-obsessed candidate’s attention. This led to an outburst by Trump aimed directly at Manafort:

“Am I like a baby to you? I sit there like a little baby and watch TV and you talk to me? Am I a f—ing baby, Paul?”

Ironically, Trump’s tantrum was proving the accuracy of the criticism he was complaining about. It wasn’t long after that that Manafort was fired. And even that was an ordeal reminiscent of a soap opera. Trump’s son-in-law and consigliere, Jared Kushner, informed Manafort that he was “going to have to go.” Manafort was resistant complaining that a resignation would make it “look like I’m guilty.” But Kushner persisted and told Manafort that a press release would be going out in minutes announcing his resignation.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The book promises to be as exciting and erratic as the characters it profiles. It would make a great cinematic thriller. Unfortunately, the plot does not make for a great presidency. It certainly doesn’t do anything to make America great again. But it does underscore the danger of putting a paranoid narcissist with no experience in the White House. And it reinforces the dire necessity of removing Trump from office before he does even more damage.

Pay-To-Play: Trump’s Tweets Promoting Fox News Are Worth A Fortune In Free Advertising

It’s time to pull the press credentials of Fox News.

Fox News Donald Trump

The congressional press galleries have specific standards for issuing press passes to Washington journalists. They’re intended to insure that correspondents granted the privilege of access to government officials represent legitimate and independent news organizations. More often than not, credentials have been distributed fairly and without regard to partisan affiliation. The standards say in part that applicants…

“…must not be engaged in any lobbying or paid advocacy, advertising, publicity or promotion work for any individual, political party, corporation, organization, or agency of the U.S. Government. [And…] must be editorially independent of any institution, foundation or interest group that lobbies the federal government, or that is not principally a general news organization.”

A recent example of a “news” enterprise that failed the test was Breitbart News. Their application was denied due to its failure demonstrate editorial independence from Donald Trump and his administration. It was an easy call considering that Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, previously ran the alt-right web rag.

However, applying the same criteria, the credentials of Fox News should be revoked due to their demonstrated absence of independence. The network’s news anchors and opinion hosts shamelessly advance the interests of Trump and his agenda. Some (Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity) are close personal friends. What’s more, they devotedly defend him from criticism and fiercely attack his critics. Fox News fails to meet the standards cited above because it is plainly engaging in advocacy, advertising, publicity and promotion. It is not editorially independent. And even according to their own chief executive, it “is not principally a general news organization.”

Clearly Fox is in Trump’s corner and isn’t shy about showing their favoritism. And the reverse is just as true. Further evidence of the tightly wound dependency between Trump and Fox News is the favoritism shown by Trump toward Fox. Prior to his entry into politics he had a regular segment on Fox and Friends called “Mondays with Trump.” He has appeared on Fox more than any other network. Since the inauguration five of the six interviews he’s given to cable news networks were given to Fox News.

Even more emblematic of their mutual fondness is the presence of former Foxies in the White House ranks. So far there are five members of the Trump administration who were recruited from Fox News. K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, Sebastian Gorka, Heather Nauert, and Richard Grennell. They form the core of Trump’s Ministry of Propaganda. It’s an unprecedented fusion of media and government.

Never let it be said that Trump doesn’t show his appreciation for all the help he’s received from Fox. He has expressed that appreciation in the form of promotional tweets encouraging his followers to watch Fox News. The Washington Post has collected dozens of examples of these 140 character commercial endorsements. And the value of these tweeted ads should not be underestimated. The Post noted that:

“[T]here’s a robust economy built on getting celebrities to tweet positive things about products. You see Kim Kardashian posting a photo of some new lipstick on Instagram and you can be pretty confident that the lipstick company paid some go-between to get her to do that.”

Indeed. Trump’s previous career as a television huckster hosting a reality TV game show prepared him for this role as a White House infomercial personality. Celebrity Apprentice was an hour long advertising vehicle for everything from Coca-Cola to Chevrolet, and of course Trump Hotels. In fact, there were often more product placements in Trump’s show than most other programs on television. It’s a corrupt practice he is continuing in the White House.

So Trump knows how much endorsements are worth. The Post estimated his tweets for Fox News to be worth more than $5 million in free advertising. Perhaps not as valuable as Kardashian’s tweets, but still significant. Below are some of the tweet-vertisements Trump has posted for his pals at Fox:

The relationship between Trump and Fox News is one that poisons both the media and the presidency. It cheapens both by turning them into commercial casters that exist to generate tabloid pablum for profit. A perfect example of how quickly this devolves into a shopping network for political elites is the deal Fox just signed with Harvey Levin. The TMZ star will host “Objectified,” a spinoff of Levin’s Fox News special wherein he toured Trump’s gold-plated penthouse. Coming this fall.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Trump and Fox News are merging to form a government sponsored propaganda machine that is deceptive at best and mind control at worst. It is the sort of perverse arrangement that is generally found in dictatorships and fascist regimes. If the organizations responsible for journalist credentials don’t take steps to apply their own standards, then they will be complicit in the degradation and delegitimization of the American press. And the first step would be to pull the press credentials of Fox News.

Now Can We Declare Trump Insane And Remove Him From Office? (Tweetstorm On Wiretaps)

The reasons to impeach Donald Trump, or otherwise remove him from office, continue to mount. His conflicts of interest, financial corruption, sexual predatory behavior, associations with mobsters, and on and on. And this is the guy that the media swoons over for his allegedly newfound “presidential” demeanor? The most troubling of his growing collection of scandals is the unsavory relationship he and his administration have with Russia and Vladimir Putin.

Donald Trump

However, on Saturday morning Trump revealed another reason to remove him from the presidency. He is STRAIGHT UP BONKERS! Note this latest torrent of deranged tweets:

As usual, Trump provided no evidence that these paranoid accusations have any truth to them. They appear to be a wild excursion into a hallucinatory nightmare that only he can experience. His determination to find villains plotting his demise is taking over his already hampered mental state. Professionals in the psychiatric field have warned of his “malignant narcissism” and other dangerous lapses of cognitive ability. Since his election, legislators from both sides of the aisle have drafted bills to mandate a White House psychiatrist.

Trump’s descent into ever deeper madness seems to be reaching a pinnacle. These tweets cover a lot of maniacal territory. For instance, he is accusing Obama of something that a president has no power to do. Only a law enforcement entity such as the FBI can request surveillance warrants. And in these circumstances even they would need permission from the FISA court to proceed. This isn’t new information either, as Trump insinuated.

His reference to McCarthyism demonstrates that he has no idea what that is. Obama did not make any baseless allegations of treasonous affiliations. Trump didn’t even assert that. To him McCarthyism is just an epithet to toss around recklessly to malign his perceived enemies. The Watergate reference is a bit more on track, except that in that affair Nixon tapped his own phones.

While Trump offered no support for his bizarre claims, the Guardian speculates that he got his info from ultra-rightist radio host, Mark Levin. On his Thursday night show Levin talked about the alleged steps Obama took to undermine Trump’s campaign. That unsubstantiated lunacy was later picked up by Breitbart News, the wingnut hack factory formerly run by Trump’s chief White House strategist, Stephen Bannon.

This is reminiscent of Trump’s frequent use of unverified lunacies from right-wing media that show up on his Twitter feed within minutes of them airing on Fox News. The President resides in a hermetically sealed bubble of far-right conspiracy theories and fake news. He regurgitates what he see and reads from dubious sources as fact and doesn’t even bother to cite those sources. Bloomberg News recently documented the extent to which Trump relies on Fox News, and vice versa.

The most puzzling part of this is trying to come up with a motivation for making these accusations now. Generally Trump’s intentions are easily discerned as distractions from some other abhorrent activity on his part. However, all this does is to remind people of his nefarious connections to Russia. Congressman Ted Lieu noted this in a candid and colorful tweet on the subject:

All of this points to a deteriorating mental state on the part of our President. This is the man who controls the nuclear codes. Yet he is easily influenced by the likes of Mark Levin, Alex Jones, and his own top aide, Bannon. The circumstances developing in the White House are exactly why the nation ratified the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. Section four of the Amendment provides guidance in the event that “the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

If there were ever a situation in which that argument could be made, it is now. And it isn’t just because of these recent tweets. Trump’s entire history in public life is symptomatic of psychological disorder. His pathological lying, his relentless egotism, his multiple marriages and public affairs, his faulty, and often imaginary, recollections, and his childish outbursts and insults, all suggest deep emotional abnormality. It’s long past time that he be evaluated and directed to somewhere that he get the help he obviously needs. And in the process, protect the country from further harm.

Trump’s ‘Enemy Of The American People’ Is A Direct Threat To The Free Press

From the outset of Donald Trump’s campaign he has made the media a target of his attacks, insults and retribution. He has called them liars and sleazy and horrible people. Keeping them penned up at his rallies was common, as was expelling those he especially disliked.

Donald Trump

Organizations that advocate for the welfare of journalists have expressed their concerns with justifiable anxiety. The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a warning that “A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the United States.” The National Press Club released a similar statement condemning Trump’s anti-press tactics as “unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.”

Now Trump has taken his abuse a step further into an ominous future. He posted on Twitter a message that reeks of an authoritarian stranglehold on one of America’s most cherished principles. The Free Press. He tweeted:

Trump’s characterization of the press as “the enemy of the American People!” has roots in some of the most oppressive historical dictatorships. It goes back to ancient Roman times. However, it has been used as recently as the 1950’s by China’s Chairman Mao Tse-tung to suppress freedom. Trump’s usage is particularly repulsive because of the overtly violent overtones that infect so much of his rhetoric. Is he deliberately fomenting violence against the press now? As an aside, it’s curious that he thinks the media is the enemy of the American people, but that it isn’t his enemy.

In the United States, disgraced former President Richard Nixon made an almost identical statement in private. He said that “The press is the enemy, the establishment is the enemy, the professors are the enemy.” Sound familiar? But Trump is saying it very publicly. It’s also notable that Nixon’s Watergate scandal and Trump’s current transgressions have similar beginnings. The Republican operatives who broke into Democratic offices at the Watergate were called the “Plumbers” because their purpose was to plug up leaks. And that’s exactly the focus of Trump’s complaints.

The “enemy of the people” theme is likely the handiwork of Trump’s alt-right, white supremacist aide, Stephen Bannon. In 2012 his Breitbart News website featured a commentary by Trump supporter Pat Caddell. In it Caddell said that “The press’s job is to stand in the ramparts and protect the liberty and freedom of all of us from a government and from organized governmental power,” So far, so good. However, he continued to say that they have “desert[ed] those ramparts” and “made themselves the enemy of the American people.”

Mao, Nixon, Breitbart. Is there a pattern forming? Trump would be thrilled to discredit the media that he regards as the “opposition party.” Then he could rant relentlessly with his “alternative facts” and outright lies without restraint or objective scrutiny. He could rely on disreputable “news” manglers like Breitbart, Infowars, the National Enquirer, and Fox News to lead his campaign of disinformation.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

This needs to be taken seriously. Trump is not kidding when he says the free press is the enemy. Last October he complained that “Our press is allowed to say whatever they want and get away with it.” Trump is actually appalled that the press can say whatever they want. It’s a freedom that he would eagerly undo given the opportunity. That would leave us with his factless accounts of a delusional world that exalts him and maligns his critics. He must be stopped by any (legal) means necessary.

POLL: A Majority Of Americans Would Dump Trump For Obama

Two weeks into Donald Trump’s presidency and things continue to go south. And no, that’s not a reference to his disastrous screw-ups with Mexico. As obsessed with ratings as our reality TV president is, Trump is floundering bigly in the eyes of the nation.

Obama trump

A new poll by Public Policy Polling asked “Who would you rather was President: Barack Obama or Donald Trump?” The response was an overwhelming repudiation of Trump who received only 43 percent. Obama was favored by a majority of 52 percent.

Knowing Trump as we do, that’s going to gnaw at him intensely. But that’s only the beginning. On almost every other question in the poll, Trump fared poorly:

With regard to his executive order on immigration, 65 percent are opposed to banning Muslims. When phrased as barring people from specified countries, he still lost 53 percent of voters. He even lost lost on style with 55 percent saying his executive order was poorly executed.

On other issues, only 19 percent of voters see Stephen Bannon favorably. The same percentage think he should be on the National Security Council. And while 48 percent of Trump voters believe the conspiracy theory that airport protesters were paid by George Soros, only 26 percent of all voters buy Trump’s “alternative fact” that millions of people voted illegally.

Furthermore, 54 percent oppose building his border wall if American taxpayers have to front the cost for it. Only 37 percent of voters support the 20 percent tax on items imported to the US from Mexico. And a plurality of 46 percent now say they support ObamaCare, compared to just 41 percent who are opposed.

Perhaps the most painful results in this poll relate to the public’s impression of the media. In particular, some outlets that Trump has gone out of his way to disparage. According to PPP:

  • By a 52/41 spread voters say the Washington Post has more credibility than Trump.
  • By a 51/42 spread voters say the New York Times has more credibility than Trump.
  • By a 50/42 spread voters say CNN has more credibility than Trump.

Trump Media chart

For the record, that’s the “lying” Washington Post, the “failing” New York Times, and “fake news” CNN. All of whom are enjoying the best subscription/ratings stats they’ve seen in years. So if this is what Trump meant when he said we would all get “sick and tired of winning” bring it on, Donnie.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Republicans In Congress Are TERRIFIED Of Trump And His ‘Horde Of Enforcers’

Donald Trump ran roughshod over his GOP opponents in the 2016 Republican primaries. It was a scorched Earth style campaign that left his foes, not just beaten, but humiliated. He didn’t merely challenge their policy positions or leadership skills, he used language meant to shame them. Fellow Republicans were viciously maligned as “Lyin’ Ted’ and “Little Marco.” Eventually Trump succeeded in capturing the nomination, but not without leaving bodies on the battlefield.

Trump/Bannon

Those same tactics are now being deployed against the Republicans in Congress. Many of them are saying privately that they are fearful of taking positions against Trump. That poses a critical problem because their traditionally conservative views are often at odds with Trump’s twisted brand of populism. Trumpulism favors cordial relations with Russia and its strongman Vladimir Putin. It proposes to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure improvements, mainly benefiting wealthy contractors. It is critical of the U.S. alliance with NATO. It would impose stiff tariffs on American companies with foreign factories. All of these positions are in direct opposition to decades of Republican doctrine.

The problem now is that Republicans are literally afraid to speak their minds. They have been warned by Trump and his surrogates that any diversion from total obedience to his agenda would be viewed as betrayal. As reported by Politico:

“It’s little wonder that Capitol Hill Republicans have papered over their not-insignificant policy differences with Trump, shying away from any statement about the president-elect that might possibly be construed as critical. They’re terrified of arousing the ire of their tempestuous new leader — or being labeled a turncoat by his army of followers.” […]

“Since the election, numerous congressional Republicans have refused to publicly weigh in on any Trump proposal at odds with Republican orthodoxy, from his border wall to his massive infrastructure package. The most common reason, stated repeatedly but always privately: They’re afraid of being attacked by Breitbart or other big-name Trump supporters.”

The threat from Breitbart is a real concern. Especially since its chairman, Stephen Bannon, is currently on leave to serve as Trump’s strategic advisor in the White House. But it doesn’t stop there. As South Carolina GOP Rep. Mark Sanford said, “People are naturally reticent to be the first out of the block for fear of Sean Hannity, for fear of Breitbart, for fear of local folks.”

Texas Rep. Bill Flores can attest to Sanford’s worries. After he made some rather tame remarks at a conservative conference, the Trump enforcers snapped into action. Breitbart began with an article condemning Flores for plotting to “stifle Trump’s campaign promises.” Sean Hannity of Fox News picked up the story and added his own vitriolic objections. He implied that Flores was using code to tell Trump to “Go to hell.” Subsequently, Flores was showered with complaints that included predictions of the end of his political career and even death threats. Never mind that he is one of the most conservative members of the House and a co-founder of its arch right-wing Freedom Caucus.

The media component of Trump’s Crusaders is a key to their intimidation tactics. They have the power of Fox News as well as dozens of other right-wing media outlets. Strain all of that through Facebook and Twitter and you get a powerful amplification of their defamatory propaganda.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The rest of the GOP caucus is learning a lesson from this. They are choosing to keep their mouths shut rather than risk offending Trump or his defenders. The StormTrumpers stand at the ready to crucify any Republican they view as disloyal or insufficiently resolute. It’s a chilling state of affairs that impinges on the core principles of democracy. And in that regard, it should not be a surprise coming from the Trump camp. His authoritarian leanings have been apparent from the start of his campaign. And since it’s clear that Republicans can’t be relied upon to defend democracy, Democrats better be prepared to do it.